Give the Florida Panthers credit, they really know how to make every game exciting. In a game that looked like it was going to be an easy night for the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, the Panthers rallied down 3-0 to make a game of it. Had it not been for a familiar nemesis, the game might have gone to overtime. In the second period, with the Panthers trailing 3-0, the video review officials in Toronto ruled what many in the Bank Atlantic Center thought was a goal by Marty Reasoner, was not one. After the game, coach Pete DeBoer was frustrated with the call:
I’m at a loss. You poll 100 people and show them that play and 100 people say that’s a goal but Toronto says it isn’t. What are you gonna do?”
Despite another slight from the war room in Toronto, the Panthers took advantage of a Flyers team that appeared to tire in the third period (they played in Tampa last night). Rostislav Olesz buried a rebound of Jason Garrison slapper from the point on the power play less than two minutes into the third. About ten minutes later, David Booth fired a high glove side shot that found its way past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 3-2. The final ten minutes of the third had the Cats buzzing around the Philly net (19 shots in the third, after being woefully outshot in the first two periods), but unable to get the tying goal past Bobrovsky. A Danny Briere empty netter sealed the deal, giving the Flyers a 4-2 win.
While it would be easy to blame the loss on the video review, that’s not the whole story. Booth had a breakaway very early in the first that could have given the Panthers a leg up, but failed to score. Mike Santorelli had another breakaway at the tail end of a power play but couldn’t convert (see photo above) in the second period. If there is a silver lining here, it’s that they came back against one of the top 2-3 teams in the NHL instead of folding, like they probably would have done last season. But it’s just another reminder that, despite the work effort and grit they display on nights like Wednesday, sometimes it can’t make up for a disparity in talent.
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